Quick, when was the last time Honda introduced an exciting new engine in its ATVs? The sad answer is, “Longer than anyone cares to admit.” But with its new Hornet engine concept, Honda finally has something that grabbed our attention. The new parallel twin is supposedly slated for motorcycle applications only, so of course we can’t help but wish it makes its way into a four-wheeler.
The new Hornet powerplant is a 755cc single-cam four-stroke engine with four valves per cylinder and a 270-degree crankshaft. It makes 92 hp at 9,500 rpm and 55.3 lb.-ft. of torque at 7,250 rpm. Consider that the 2022 Rincon 680′s single-cylinder engine makes 38.1 hp at 6,000 rpm and 36 lb.-ft. at 5,000 rpm, it’s an enormous jump in power over the ancient 675cc powerplant with a relatively minimal jump in displacement. Sure, there’s an extra cylinder, but a parallel twin is usually relatively compact.
Naturally, upon hearing this, fantasies of what this engine could go into flashed across our imagination. Honda could do incredible things with the Hornet engine in the ATV space. Picture this kind of power in a Raptor fighter, or a big-bore sport quad with independent rear suspension to succeed the TRX700XX. Better yet, toss it into a lightweight four-wheel-drive frame with either a manual gearbox or a choice of Honda’s excellent DCT. Any way you throw the theoretical applications out there, it would make for something truly exciting out of Honda’s ATV division. That’s something we haven’t been able to say since the TRX450R way back in 2014. Yamaha hasn’t had to update the Raptor 700 or YFZ450R since then, so a new quad in this space could spice things up and bring back the competition and innovation. It can’t come soon enough.
Fuyuki Hosokawa, deputy director of major projects for Honda Motorcycles, said, “To get the kind of performance and lightweight handling we wanted, we knew we had to develop an entirely new short-stroke twin engine with a 270-degree crankshaft. This would not only deliver that peak power, but also the sporty low-end torque, ideal for driving in urban environments and coming out of corners on the highway. For us, the Hornet has always been the epitome of the streetfighter concept and this new Hornet concept proudly continues this tradition.” And now, we wait and cross our fingers.
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